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Grandmother's murder conviction reinstated by Supreme Court

As has been discussed in previous posts on this blog, there have been doubts by some in the medical community over how shaken baby syndrome or other crimes against children are diagnosed. This is particularly because many medical examiners or coroners do not necessarily have a medical degree or a medical degree in pediatrics or experience working with living people to better diagnose causes of death. 

An investigative series by NPR and other partner news organizations looked into these gaps in determining cause of death and how that death investigation, potentially flawed, plays a strong role or may be the deciding factor in whether someone goes to jail for child abuse and homicide.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a grandmother would have to go back to jail for the murder of her grandson in 1996.

The U.S. Supreme Court voted 6-3 to overturn the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and reinstate the murder conviction, saying that the jury had determined that the baby died of shaken baby syndrome while with his grandmother. The Supreme Court majority said that the appeals court had went beyond its authority by overruling the jury in the case.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg strongly dissented. She said the majority justices were using this tragic case to teach the Ninth Circuit a lesson.

Source: NPR, "Supreme Court Reinstates Conviction Of Grandmother In Shaken Baby Case," Nina Totenberg, Oct. 31, 2011

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